The following period of programmed isolation found Nathan Means in Auckland, Phil Manley in San Francisco and Sebastian Thomson splitting time between London and New York. Internal contact was primarily electronic but for a handful of live shows.
With two years’ of separation fueling them, the band began in June 2006 on a program of sporadic rendezvous, reconvening briefly on several continents to work on what would become the most joyous and upbeat rock album of Trans Am’s chronicle.
Although Sex Change marks a break from their past, Trans Am have always embraced unnatural and perverse recording techniques and concepts. In such a crush of time, Trans Am had to rely on traditional time and possibility expanding substances: coffee, yerba mate, et cetera, as well as a codified series of recording techniques called “Obscene Strategies”.
Brian Eno is well known for his “Oblique Strategies” in which studio engineers – faced with an apparent roadblock – draw a card from a deck. The card might suggest, “Take something perfect and make it more human”, with the intention of animating the track through an infusion of randomness.
Over many years, Trans Am developed their own Obscene Strategies to provide a less humanist and more time-sensitive set of guidelines for loosening creative blockages. Sample suggestions include:
#11 Take a nap
#16 Make it sound like Jackson Browne
#18 Rip off black musicians
#19 Invite all your friends over
#20 Check your email
#23 Leave the studio unlocked overnight
#31 Hose down the control room
#43 Pillow fight!
Liberation Perhaps the band’s geographical liberation was the inspiration for the creation of Sex Change, Trans Am’s most international and exhilarating album to date. Whatever the reason may be, Sex Change is a welcome and forceful return by a band that has been a consistent innovator and touring machine for over a decade.
UK tour in March following the release of new album Sex Change on February 19th
1st Bristol Cooler
2nd Liverpool Korova
3rd Glasgow ABC2
4th Newcastle Cumberland Arms
5th Leeds Brudenell
6th Birmingham Custard Factory
7th London Dingwalls